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As NatWest prunes its rates business, some key people are going.

The head of fixed income trading is leaving NatWest Markets

Changes are afoot at NatWest Markets. As the bank refocuses its fixed income business, a number of people have left.

They include David Henness, the head of fixed income trading. Henness, who joined from Bank of America in 2015 and began by running EMEA and Asian rates trading, is understood to have stepped down. He's being replaced by Gary Hawkins, a NatWest veteran and former emerging markets trader. 

Headhunters say there have also been a number of other exits, including at least one other senior European rates trader. 

The cuts come as NatWest is understood to be withdrawing from EUR and USD inflation derivatives. It will remain active in GBP inflation derivatives market as well as the cash inflation market for both USD and EUR. 

A spokeswoman said the bank is focusing on areas important to its customers, where it has, "scale to compete and generate sustainable returns.” She added that rates is key to the bank's overall markets offering: "It provides essential support to our Corporate and Institutional customers across cash and derivatives markets in GBP, EUR and USD."

The cuts come after a terrible year for fixed income revenues at NatWest Markets. After hitting £518m in 2020, revenues were just £5m in the first nine months of this year following a loss in the third quarter. 

"It's quite a fall from what was widely regarded as one of the best rates franchises in the business," says one headhunter. The rates trading business still has plenty of very high calibre staff, he adds - particularly in the Nordic and hedge fund sales teams. 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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